Rights group raises alarm over threat to women in El Salvador

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Residential buildings are seen in San Salvador

SAN SALVADOR – An international rights watchdog named El Salvador the most unsafe country for women in Latin America and the Caribbean in a new report published Wednesday.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said in the report it had “great concern” over El Salvador and called on the government to strengthen protections of women who are victims of violence.

There have been 97 femicides reported in El Salvador this year, a country of 6.7 million people, according to government data. There were 130 reported last year.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLCAC) says El Salvador has the highest rate of femicide on the continent at 3.3 per 100,000 people.

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The IACHR said in its report the Salvadoran government should create a reparation fund for femicide victims.

The commission also signaled concern over El Salvador’s criminalization of abortion, which is illegal even in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is at risk.

(Reporting by Gerardo Arbaiza, Writing by Cassandra Garrison, Editing by Richard Pullin)